Wednesday, 6 February 2019

4 Wines under $20 and 2 worth splurging on!

Hey Fellow Winos 

Long time no talk? 

I'm not ignoring you, trust me it's not you, it's me. I have been busy setting up my business, on vacation and quite frankly just enjoying the fruits of my labour in becoming a certified Sommelier. 

Exciting news, I'm starting a wine school for The Vintage Conservatory! Check them out here We are launching a 10 class, 10-month program to set a new standard for wine education in Toronto. Those members who complete all 10 classes must pass a final exam with an overall mark of 70% or higher which consists of an essay question, multiple choice/fill in the blank and blind tasting 6 wines. We'll also be hosting a variety of one-off masterclasses from Pinot Noir's of the world to Volcanic wine night. What fun! 

But enough about me let's focus on some wine, shall we?

I've got 4 great wines and 2 worth splurging on which came out of Vintages on Saturday, February 2nd. 

1. 2017 Familia Schroeder Alpataco Chardonnay, Patagonia, Argentina at $16.95
This is an unoaked, crisp Chardonnay from glacier filled Patagonia where the air is fresh and the wines are snappy. Think of this as an Argentinian Chablis perhaps? I'd sip this chilled with fresh grilled seafood like calamari, ceviche or perhaps some shrimp grilled with an Argentinian salsa. Serve 8C, not 2C fridge temprature. 

Who doesn't love a good Cabernet Franc? Perhaps viewed as the younger brother to Cabernet Sauvignon this wine will show you that all good things don't necessarily have to come in big packages. I am not a big fan of jammy rich plummy red wine, luckily this is not that! Grown in a cool section of Uco Valley in a cool year, this will be like drinking Chinon from the Loire Valley. I'd gladly sip this with homemade meat or veggie burgers, matching the green bell pepper note with toppings of cilantro, salsa or grilled green peppers. Serve 16C. 

Zuccardi is a reputable producer and although this is a new world Cabernet Sauvignon, it's not the thick purple jam or prune juice you may think of. This wine is structured (good acid/good tannin) and plays with nice dark fruit's like blackberry to create a well made balanced wine perfect for a Sunday roast. I'd decant this wine roughly 30 minutes to an hour and enjoy with friends and family at 18C. 

This wine is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot to create perhaps the most Italian "baby super Tuscan" there is. Ok, maybe a half sister of the super Tuscan family but this is at least Chianti with a twist. I'd decant 1 hour and serve at 18C with perhaps a large fillet smothered in Italian herbs or a Sunday roast. You can expect intense ruby red colour and aromas of blackberries and forest undergrowth. Fabulous! *You may want to find a sauce or side dish to match the earthy notes.

Two Wine's worth splurging on from a stellar 2010 Bordeaux Vintage:

This somewhat earthy red wine from the left bank is made from 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Expect a medium bodied black fruit flavoured wine with tobacco, black cherries, charred wood and forest floor. I would pair this wine with perhaps a nice shitake mushroom peppercorn sauce smothered on top of a fillet to bring out that umami earthy richness. This is un-Napa Cab! 
Serve at 18C and decant 30 minutes. 

This also somewhat earthy red wine from the right bank is made from 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. If the left bank in Bordeaux is Cabernet Sauvignon dominant and all-things-powerful, then the right bank which is Cabernet Franc/Merlot dominant could be considered more elegant and more delicate, like background jazz music. I'd gladly pour this with herb crusted pork, perhaps in a mushroom sauce or glaze. This one can't handle the peppercorns, it's a more delicate bottle that could even be sipped alone by the fire. Serve 18C and decant 30 minutes. 


When I suggest you serve wine at 13C or 16C or 18C note that is much cooler than your home temperature. I chill every single bottle before serving, be it port, red wine or white wine. Yes, I chill red wine. I toss full-bodied red into my fridge or freezer for 10-20 mins to bring the temperature down to around 10C. This way, by the time it's done decanting (30 min- hour) in my room temperature condo it will be at the prime serving temperature of around 16 or 18C. I never, ever, ever sip 22C room temperature red wine, and neither should you! 

People usually drink their white wines too cold and their red's too warm...but not you classy wine blog reader, not you. 

Stay classy Sandiego and Happy Sipping, 

Ryan Sullivan 
The Flying Somm 

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